November 11, 2014

SAY CHEESE | A Fine Selection of Blue Cheeses

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By GWEN PETRO

As the days become shorter and the air grows cooler, it’s hard to help feeling a little blue. I’m always able brighten my day with some cheese, and what better way is there to beat the seasonal blues than with some tasty blue cheese?

Since blue cheese is among the more popular cheeses, the number of options to choose from can be overwhelming.  To make the decision easier for my fellow cheese-lovers, I sampled a few types of blue cheese sold at Wegmans. I chose cheeses from three different countries to get a taste of the best blues that each has to offer.

I began my journey into the blue with a triple creme Cambozola from Germany. This cheese goes easy on the blue both in appearance and in flavor, so I would recommend it for those of you who aren’t as crazy about blue cheese as I am.  Its creamier texture is similar to that of a brie, and it was very easy to cut into slices to snack on. This cheese offered a milder take on the classic blue, with only a hint of the signature tang and pungent aroma. Of the three cheeses I sampled, this cheese is your best bet for melting. If you’re looking to add an edge to your grilled cheese, try grilling this Cambozola on cranberry nut bread with slices of apple or pear. If that sounds like too much effort, simply slice it up and add it to ham or cheese on a baguette.

The next stop on my blues cruise was Denmark. This cheese, called Danablu, looks more like the blue cheese you all know and (hopefully) love.  It’s semi-soft and stays intact when cut into slices. Danablu combines the moderately intense blue flavor with hints of fruitiness. I experienced a delightful aftertaste of red wine, with which it would pair perfectly.  The unique flavor of Danablu can stand on its own as part of a cheese plate. It can also add a kick to any salad, especially one drizzled in raspberry vinaigrette.  Place slices of it on crackers with jam for a quick snack.

I reached the final stop on my itinerary with the Spanish Valdeon, another more typical blue cheese option. Valdeon was difficult to cut, so I would recommend crumbling it.  It was the strongest of the three in both taste and smell, and its flavor was the most savory.  If you are looking for the sharpness of a true blue, the Valdeon is for you. The satisfying crumbles add a burst of flavor to steaks and hearty burgers (which I recommend topping with either avocado and tomato or sauteed onions and Portobello mushrooms). If you like spice, try adding it to a buffalo chicken wrap or salad with romaine, celery, tomato and a drizzle of ranch.

Like a tourist traveling across Europe, I found that each country had something special to offer. Depending on your taste and intensity preferences, one may sound more appealing than the others. One thing is for sure though. Eaten alone, paired with a glass of wine or incorporated in other foods, each cheese is guaranteed to help you beat the winter blues.

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